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Hsieh Su-Wei and Elise Mertens reign as Australian Open women’s doubles queens

Hsieh Su-Wei and Elise Mertens on Sunday  after winning the women’s doubles final.

Hsieh Su-Wei and Elise Mertens on Sunday after winning the women’s doubles final. Photo: Getty

Hsieh Su-Wei will leave Melbourne Park with two trophies after the ageless Taiwanese star added the Australian Open women’s doubles title to her haul.

Already the winner of the mixed doubles crown with Polish partner Jan Zielinski, Hsieh combined with Belgian Elise Mertens on Sunday at Rod Laver Arena to win the women’s mantle.

The duo were a class above 11th seeds Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, the world No.10 in the singles, and Lyudmyla Kichenok of the Ukraine, winning 6-1 7-5.

“It was a really tough final, the second set was really close,” second-seeded Mertens said.

“It was a really great match for us. We really had to stay focused all the time.”

It’s Hsieh’s eighth grand slam title.

Already the owner of seven women’s doubles crowns, including Wimbledon on four occasions, it’s her first major in Melbourne after also reaching the final in 2020.

Hsieh became a crowd favourite at Melbourne Park back in 2021 when she made an unlikely run to the singles quarter-finals before being eliminated by eventual champion Naomi Osaka.

Mertens, who took over the world No.1 doubles ranking from her former partner Storm Hunter when she beat the Australian and Katerina Siniakova in the semi-finals, claimed her fourth grand slam and her second at the Australian Open.

Mertens and Hunter, who reached last year’s Wimbledon final together, parted ways after falling in the semi-finals of the 2023 season-ending champions event in Cancun.

The first set could hardly have gone better for Hsieh and Mertens, wrapping it up in only 25 minutes.

Coached by doubles greats Australia’s Paul McNamee and Zimbabwe’s Cara Black, 38-year-old Hsieh’s unconventional style unsettled their rivals, particularly Ostapenko who favours brawling from the baseline.

Mertens and Hsieh gave their rivals the jump in the second set when the Belgian dropped the opening serve, with Ostapenko then serving to set up a 2-0 lead.

But the serve of Kichenok proved a weakness with the favourites roaring back to go up 5-3.

It was Mertens’ time to feel the pressure with the Belgian unable to clinch the title on their first attempt, dropping her serve, with Ostapenko levelling at 5-5.

Hsieh served to again put her team ahead 6-5 and then the duo pounced on a faltering Kichenok to wrap up the match and a share of a $730,000 winner’s cheque.

Hsieh also split $165,000 for her mixed doubles run.

-AAP

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